THE STATE OF OUR POOLS
Before the Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics formed in 2012, the aquatics situation was worsening rapidly.
- Facilities had closed and others are aging with no replacement in sight. The pool facilities are in need of major replacement or repair.
- Demand for pool usage has grown. There are waiting lists for basic swimming lessons; pools are overbooked with multiple different users seeking space.
In recognition that action was needed, the City commissioned a comprehensive aquatics study that was completed in 2012. The study basically told us what we know – the pools are old and in need of repair/replacement and that to do so will require a large amount of capital.
There are only three public pools left in the City – Chinquapin, Old Town, and Memorial Pool at the Charles Houston Rec Center. Memorial Pool is the newest but the smallest. The city budget includes funds to replace Warwick pool in 2016-2017 and to build an additional 50-meter pool at Chinquapin in 2017-2018. Pools at Ewald, Colasanto, and Lee have been closed and there are no plans to reopen them.
Contact AlexandriaAquatics@gmail.com for print copies.
Letters of Support
Inova Alexandria Hospital (pdf)
From Susan Carroll, CEO, Inova Alexandria Hospital to Mark Jinks, City Manager, City of Alexandria
Lane 4 Swimming – Masters Swim Team (pdf)
From Frank Marcinkowski, Head Coach to City of Alexandria
The Mayor and City Council of Alexandria, Virginia – We have received the unanimous support of the Mayor and the Council during the four years that we have worked on the project. The Mayor has been a spokesperson for us at several events and is a strong supporter of swimming lessons as a past instructor. The Council has identified approximately $20 million of City funds for the new Chinquapin pool.
City of Alexandria – AAA has a Memorandum of Understanding with the City as the basis for a public/private partnership to see that the new pool is built.
Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) – they are working with AAA to change the curriculum to offer swimming lessons to all students in the ACPS. There are approximately 15,000 students in the system and estimates are that over 7,500 don’t know how to swim.
Congressman Don Beyer
Former Congressman Jim Moran
Former Mayor Bill Euille
Park and Recreation Commission – unanimous support
Judy Noritake – former Chair, Park and Recreation Commission
Youth Sports Advisory Board – City of Alexandria
Chamber of Commerce
Alexandria Economic Development Partnership
Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria
Kerry Donley – former Mayor, former Councilman, current Vice President, John Marshal Bank; financial adviser to AAA
Alexandria City Public Schools
T. C. Williams High School
All 13 public elementary schools in the City
St. Stephens/St. Agnes School
Alexandria Country Day School
INOVA Alexandria Hospital
The Tenant and Workers United
The Potomac Marlins Swim Club
The National Capital Swim Club (NCAP)
The Wahoos Swim Team
L4 Swimming (The Masters program)
Potomac Valley Swimming
Alexandria Sportsmens Club
Baroody Sports Camps
Potomac River Outfitters
BB & T Bank
David Speck, Private Sector Financial Adviser; financial consultant to AAA
Donald Simpson, President, Simpson Development Company
Tony Culley-Foster, President and CEO, World Affairs Council
Fairfax Hackley, WTOP radio personality and fitness trainer
WEAquatics – provides swim lessons for all ages
CHINQUAPIN RECREATION CENTER
The City of Alexandria has entered into a contract with Hughes Group Architects to conduct a feasibility study for expansion of the Chinquapin Aquatics Center. The study will explore the feasibility of building a 50-meter, indoor competition pool as an expansion to the existing center. The study will also look at renovations to the existing pool to convert it to a recreation pool, with additional features and amenities, along with associated programming.
Upon completing the first phase of the study, Hughes Group has recommended that a 50-meter pool can fit in the available footprint. This recommendation was received and approved by City Council. The company is currently collecting public feedback about the design and potential uses for the facility via public meetings and a survey.
Read the City’s Announcement – Selecting Hughes Group Architects
View the Results of the Feasibility Study
Get a recap of the June Public Meeting
Get a recap of the September Public Meeting
Voice your opinion online at AlexEngage
July 8, 2015 eNews Update from the City of Alexandria
Contractors for the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities will be on site beginning the week of July 13 to obtain soil samples at 3210 King St. The public will see specialized vehicle-mounted equipment and temporary survey flags and stakes with colored ribbons as part of the survey work. Work will occur during daylight hours and, weather permitting, will take approximately 10 to 12 business days to complete. For safety reasons, the work may require areas of the site to be closed for short time periods. To minimize impacts to the community and to expedite the work, survey flags and stakes should not be disturbed or altered. Soil sampling is a part of conducting a geotechnical assessment of the site and adjacent hillside. In addition, these tasks are steps of planning analysis related to the future of the facility.
The Warwick pool will be closed this summer and likely, the summer of 2016 due to structural problems. However, there is good news coming! The City has authorized funding for a new pool at the same location. It should be built within the next 18 months.
The City Council approved $2.3 million in the FY 2017 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for the new pool at Warwick, as well as renovation of the existing building. In addition, there is $150,000 appropriated in the FY 2016 CIP (July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016) for the planning work to begin.
And that work has already started. The City has contracted with CARDNO to assess what repairs are needed to the current building and to do the necessary soil testing preliminary to designing the new pool. The building assessment has been ongoing and the soil testing will begin July 6th.
While the new pool will be great, the current situation creates the problem of no swimming pool being available in the immediate area. To offset that, the City, the DASH Bus System, and AAA have worked with businesses and organizations in Alexandria to raise funds so that free bus service is available to the Old Town pool from the Warwick area. Anyone can ride the AT10 bus route for free between 9:30 am and 3:30 pm Monday through Friday and 11:00 am to 7:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays from July 1st through Labor Day.
See our information about the Splash With DASH program.
The Old Town pools (a lap pool and a kiddie pool) are in much the same physical condition as the ones at Warwick. A recent consultant study done for the City estimates that the Old Town pools will have to close within the next five years due to capital defects and inability to meet disability regulations. The pool facility here is the largest outdoor pool area in Alexandria and serves about 16,000 swimmers each summer. While it is not in as dire straits as the Warwick pools, Old Town has the start of many of the same problems: concrete cracking, foundation concerns, leaking issues, etc.
The solution recommended by the City’s consultant in 2012 is to replace the existing complex with new lap and family/recreational style pools.
LEE CENTER THERAPY POOL
There currently is no public therapy pool in Alexandria. Program events normally associated with therapy pools are done at Chinquapin where the water is too cold. This also involves Alexandria’s special needs population, which swims at Chinquapin as well. For them, the water is too cold also. There are no special therapeutic features at Chinquapin either.
The 2012 consultant study recommended a therapy pool at the Lee Center. The Lee Center is the focus of Alexandria’s indoor and outdoor therapeutic recreation program. Special classrooms and training are inside the Lee Center while the Kelley Cares Miracle Field is adjacent to the building (along with a soon to be completed fully accessible playground). A separate therapy pool would allow for all appropriate users to enjoy their swimming and exercises in a warmer water pool and allow for the installation of therapeutic devices like underwater treadmills.